I’ve got a soft spot for doors. Weird, I know. But I really do love them. Always have. Maybe it’s because I love what’s on the other side. Maybe it’s because they can lead you somewhere new, or take you somewhere safe. Or maybe it’s because I can shut them and block out what lays beyond. Or perhaps, it’s just because they can be so darned beautiful. Whether it be simple and distressed with age, held together with rusty nails and heavy old hinges or, be exquisitely ornate and expensive, polished and buffed to a golden gleam of reflections. Doors can be stunning artworks in their own right.
Like most things I love, I’m thinking my passion for doors comes from my childhood. The old family houses I would visit, they seemed to have doors everywhere. Like Aunty Winnie’s Queenslander in the (still) one street town. Its wrap around varendahs and front door at the top of the stairs was always opened with a welcoming friendliness. The central hallway was checkered with the doors of the rooms that branched off. They were left open for the much needed cross-ventilation. The breeze was encouraged by the French doors from bedrooms to balconies and to sunrooms where old sewing baskets lay overflowing with half finished needle work. At the rear of the house, behind the kitchen, was the door, before the door of the tacked on toilet. And that was before yet another door above the steep flight of steps down to the backyard below where an old crumbling and split timber door hung on the original outhouse.
Or it may have been my grandparents 1920s house on the hill. It had dark timber, glass panelled, French doors that opened from the dining room to the formal living. The beautiful, heavy and solid front door that was painted a delicious gloss green. The stable door in the kitchen, next to the oven alcove, where the top swung open independent to the bottom. The slatted, pailing doors of the under house. One around the front, two around the side and one out the back, all leading to a different space of intrigue and discovery amongst the rough ground and steps held up with wedges of timber offcuts. And the fence that stood at the back of the property, flanked by the big mango tree at one end and the soaring Norfolk pine at the other. It had a gate – a door – that lead to a dirt track behind. To this day I wonder…where did that track go?
I’ve purchased old doors based purely on the fact that they reminded me of a door I’d seen in one of those houses. I bought my house because I fell in love with the little door of the port cupboard that sat above the old linen closet in the hallway of my small 1950s build.
I still remember as a kid, counting the doors in the house of a primary school friend. 26 doors! It was the era of extensions and building-in, tacking a room, on a room, on a room and thus a door, on a door, on a door.
Perhaps it was all those famous doors in literature that have inspired my love. The perfect symbol of opportunity or possibility for the most famous of authors, it provides the ultimate segway to a story. The magical, the secret, the riddles and the spells. The opportunity for the welcome. Or the unwelcome! The fantasy! The choice! The escape.
I have been known to ask for a door for my birthday. I have snapped up old doors like most would a pair of shoes on special. I’ve had buyer’s remorse and kicked myself when I didn’t buy a door I had seen.
I dream of a day when my best friends buy the house next door. We will grow an amazing hedge and hidden amongst it we will put a bright yellow door to connect our homes. A secret tunnel of sorts.
When I travel, it’s doors that I photograph. It’s doors that I remember. It’s the famous doors I want to see. It’s doors that I put on my itinerary.
The old theatre doors of the Paddington Antique Centre are amongst my favourites. The perfect backdrop for displays, the perfect frame for a teaser of what is beyond. The doors that in no-way giveaway the sheer brilliance of the space inside. Enter…and revealed is a sight that still takes my breath away. It’s on the glass panes of the timber framed doors that every single day I see someone with their face squished up to it it. Hands shading the glare, peering through…eager to know…to see in…to find out what lays beyond.
So let me tell you, just a few weeks back as I wandered through the Centre, it was with genuine surprise and a double take that I noticed the door. The door that after years and years and years of me walking the aisles, I’d never seen before. It was up high. There was no way to get to it. Half open….beckoning. I felt drawn to it. But there were no stairs. No way up from behind.
Just the door.